The brain is a fascinating part of the human body. It oversees physical functions, cognitions and affective states. It contains all sorts of important structures and components that may or may not be familiar such as, the brain stem, the cerebellum, the thalamus, hypothalamus, and cerebrum. All of these play critical roles in our basic functioning and regulate things like our heart beat and breath.
Through research and observation, neurologists, psychologists and developmental theorists have been able to learn a great deal about the brain and how to best nurture it throughout life to maximize its/our potential.
At birth, almost all the neurons that the brain will ever have are present. However, the brain continues to grow for a few years after birth. By the age of 2 years old, the brain is actually about 80% of the adult size. Full brain development doesn’t occur until about age 25. This includes the areas that involve critical thinking and inhibit risky behavior, which explains why adults experience frustration with teen’s behaviors. They fail to understand that adolescent brain literally can’t conceptualize the consequences of their actions.
Nerve cells or neurons communicate by releasing and receiving chemicals called neurotransmitters. Common ones are serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Connections and communication between neurons is facilitated and enhanced by stimulation through sights and sounds, interactions with others and the environment. It is important to know that there are things you can do to promote a healthy brain.